Police have seized around £12 million worth of cocaine following a six-month investigation into the "top echelon" of organised crime.
An investigation led by Titan, the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, has led to the biggest drug seizure since the unit started in 2008, police said today.
Supported by the South East Regional Crime Unit, SOCA and Border Policing Command a co-ordinated operation led to a van being stopped in Chelmsford, Essex, yesterday afternoon.
Two men, aged 50 and 25, from the Urmston area of Manchester, were detained with the vehicle and a subsequent search led to recovery of what is believed to be 80kgs of cocaine with a potential street value of £12 million.
Following this recovery, with support from the police forces of Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire, co-ordinated arrests took place across the North West leading to the arrests of a further five men and one woman.
Head of Operations for Titan, Detective Superintendent Jason Hudson, said: "These arrests come as a result of a thorough and intensive six-month long investigation by officers from Titan.
"It also represents the largest seizure of Class A controlled drugs from a Titan led investigation and delivers a massive blow against organised crime in the North West.
"This continues our ongoing efforts to tackle the top echelon of organised criminals in the North West and I hope this sends a message out of others involved in this type of criminality, that we act on all information we receive and work hard to take you off the streets and bring you to justice."
Police arrested a 44-year-old man from Grappenhall, Warrington, in Kirkham, Lancashire and a 41-year-old woman from Grappenhall, Warrington, in Runcorn, Cheshire.
They also arrested a 52-year-old man from Partington, Greater Manchester, a 30-year-old man from Aintree, Merseyside, a 36-year-old man from Halewood, Merseyside, and a 46-year-old man from Urmston, Greater Manchester.
They have all been arrested on suspicion of the importation of Class A controlled drugs and remain in police custody for questioning.